Helping People


I ended up housesitting at the same place for almost 3 weeks, ending yesterday.  I have realized two things as a result of this experience.

1.  I am an introvert that loves being in a private setting.  I CAN be in public but I prefer to be by myself a lot.  Then when I get tired of myself I make a phone call and/or get together in person with a friend or family member.

2.  I realized that I cannot help people much until I am in a stronger place and that the first people I need to help are my own family members.

I hope I can express what is on my mind in a way my readers can understand.  After being housed for 3 weeks, my perspective on my free-sleeping situation has changed a bit.  It’s like I’m looking down on the situation in an objective way, without emotion.  And I realize that I have had a really unrealistic idea about my ability to help others and I have been directing my “helpful thoughts” in the wrong direction.

My natural inclination, when I see sad, homeless people is to want to help them.  For instance, a woman I know in her early 20s is homeless again.  She was staying with her mom (who I am friendly with) at a hotel for awhile but chose not to help out financially and got kicked out.  My immediate gut reaction thought was, (don’t laugh), I’ve got to find a way to help this girl.  She is in college, she’s got to finish.  She won’t finish college if she doesn’t have a roof over her head!

Ok, if you know anything about me, you know I have a daughter in college myself.  She has taken on a LOT of debt to educate and house herself (she lives on campus).  She works her butt off and in the summertime she can’t stay on campus so she finds temporary housing for herself.  This summer she is staying with a friend’s family and they love her because she is (at the risk of sounding like I’m bragging on her) a really nice girl.  They like her so much, they say she can stay there for free.  Still, she insists on paying them something, and she pays for her own food etc.  And she just turned 20.  Her father sends her $250 a month but she doesn’t get anything from me.

I have another wonderful daughter that is 25.  She and her boyfriend work jobs that pay barely over minimum wage.  They pay for their apartment and all their expenses.  Her dad (same guy) also send her money every month.  She doesn’t get anything from me.

My point is-who deserves more help?  My own flesh and blood, hardworking, responsible daughters or this friend’s daughter who is everything my daughters are not? ( She has a lot of potential but she’s not living up to it.)

I realize now that our society promotes helping the undeserving stranger too much and I have bought into it!  I’m ashamed of myself that I haven’t helped my daughters more and that I’ve been so worried about other people.  Considering I have precious few resources myself, ANY extra care, money etc. should be directed at MY FAMILY.

In my defense, my own father was a bit like me in this respect too (God rest his soul).  He and my mother sent money to charities to help strangers all over the world but I didn’t dare ask him to even borrow money (I knew the answer would be no), when I was raising my girls by myself (I DID get child support but I still had a hard time covering everything on my meager salary).  I guess my father figured I could handle things on my own, but there were some times, I really could have used his help.  I don’t blame him.  This is something our society promotes.  Liberality to the stranger, the foreigner, the slacker, the mentally ill, the drug addict etc. and little thought to the hardworking normal person who could also use a hand.  Even one of your own family.

I’m glad I have my prioties straight and it’s looking like I might have a little extra money to share with my daughters soon.  That’s a very good feeling.



About Maureen, Living in a Van

I'm a free-sleeper living in a van in the prettiest part of the world. I do this partly due to financial circumstances and partly because I love a good adventure.
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2 Responses to Helping People

  1. Ryu says:

    Yes, that is a very popular idea – it is good to help the stranger but evil to help your people.

    To make it work today, one has to become a bit piggish and selfish. The US is becoming more of a 3rd world nation that what it was. The transition is permenant. Lookout for you and your own.

    Cities are now exporting their poor rather than helping them. I’m sure you’ve seen this. They do this through various rules and ordinances.

  2. Maureen says:

    Indeed Ryu, it seems like we have to become more self-serving. And clannish. It will take time but I believe as American homes become multi-generational Americans will become less individualist and help each other more. It’s already happening. Those that don’t have family they can work with will clan together into groups and even gangs.

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